For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

EU Parliament adopts Collective Rights Management Directive

Gino celebrating
further progress made
towards final adoption
of the directive
There are just a few topics in the realm of copyright (well, for sure one is technological protection measures) that this Kat finds more exciting than collective rights management. 

This is why she is particularly happy to report on progress made towards the final adoption of a new EU directive "on collective management of copyright related rights and multi-territorial licensing of rights in musical works for online uses in the internal market" [background katposts here and here]

As IP Watch and 1709 Blog's Ben reported, 2 days ago (4 February) the European Parliament adopted a directive which, according to EU Commissioner and Katfriend Michel Barnier, "is a cornerstone of the digital single market", in that it "will facilitate the entry of smaller innovative suppliers on the European market", and "will also contribute to wider availability and better choice of offers of online music in Europe."

As IPKat readers will remember, this initiative draws upon the 2011 blueprint for intellectual property rights to boost creativity and innovation, in which the Commission highlighted that "[w]hile the substantive scope of copyright has been largely harmonised, rights are still licensed on a national basis. In view of the digital Single Market, streamlining copyright licensing and revenue distribution is one of the most important challenges that must be addressed."

Readers will also remember the criticisms to the proposal, as expressed by the Max Planck Institute [here]. In particular, these focused on Commission's sectorial approach to the regulation of cross-border licensing and the fact that the proposed directive did not distinguish between different categories of rightsholders. The Max Planck Institute also advised European legislature to clearly state that the intellectual property exception of article 17(11) of the Service Directive applies to collecting societies, on consideration that collecting societies manage copyrights and related rights arising from national law.

As explained in a surprisingly detailed press release, the main reasons for adopting this new directive can be summarised as follows:
  • The functioning of some collective management organisations has raised concerns as to their transparency, governance and the handling of revenues collected on behalf of right-holders. 
  • The collective management of rights is also important for the licensing of online service providers (music download services, streaming services). 
  • Online service providers often want to cover a multitude of territories and a large catalogue of music, while many collective management organisations today are not ready for this. 
  • Besides issues of incorrect or missing invoicing, all this has resulted in fewer music services being available to consumers across the EU, along with a slower uptake of innovative services and poor allocation of revenue to rightholders.
Andrius will be finally able
to choose who
should take care of his repertoire
(and his collection of leather jackets)
Thus, this new directive intends to:
  1. Improve the way all collective management organisations are managed by establishing common governance, transparency and financial management standards.
  2. Set common standards for the multi-territorial licensing by authors' collective management organisations of rights in musical works for the provision of online services [readers, especially those who have taken the trouble to respond to the Consultation (here) on the review of EU copyright rules - whose deadline has been extended to 5th March -, will be well aware that one of the issues dealt with therein is indeed cross-border provision of, and access to, services].
  3. Allow "a Lithuanian singer to choose what collective management organisation he want to hand over his repertoire", as Rapporteur Marielle Gallo exemplified:
  4. Require collective management organisations to open up for alternative licences, including open licences such as Creative Commons, and
  5. Create conditions that can expand the legal offer of online music.

Once the Council has formally adopted the new legislation, the new rules will enter into force on the twentieth day following that of the publication of the directive in Merpel's favourite magazine, ie the Official Journal of the European Union

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